AT the November meeting of North Yorkshire Unison Retired members Craven Area, those present unanimously voted that we should express our support for the nurses and all other NHS staff who are being forced to withdraw their labour to fight for better pay and conditions.

It is shameful for the Government to refuse to negotiate on the pay increase these essential workers have asked for. The excuse the Government puts forward is that the pay award was determined by an independent body. This body’s deliberations took place before the invasion of Ukraine and well before the cost of living skyrocketed.

The situation is made worse by Government ministers quoting misleading figures for the costs of the pay increase requested, as fact checking by the BBC and Institute for Fiscal Studies shows. Whether this was by design or error, only the ministers know. According to IFS analysis, using information from the Government, the actual cost would be about half of what the ministers have stated. This pales into insignificance when put beside the money wasted on unusable Personal Protection Equipment bought during the pandemic, and we know how many of the suppliers of this were selected.

That the NHS is in crisis is undeniable. There are not enough nurses, doctors, and other support staff to cope with the demands. There is a big problem with retention of qualified staff due to burn out, ill health and finding better paid and less stressful jobs outside the health sector. The cost to the NHS of agency staff to cover for the shortage of employed professionals is enormous. All this is exacerbated by Government’s failure to invest in the Care Sector over many years, leading to bed blockage.

Finally, what nurses and other NHS staff are asking for is a serious negotiation. It does not mean that they will refuse to settle for a reasonable offer less than what they have requested. The Government do not seem to understand that concept at all.

David Gooch


Skipton Meeting of Retired Members

Unison North Yorkshire LG Branch

Craven Area